Horror, which over the years of history has turned from a legitimate source of entertainment into a cheap thrill in the public eye, is a genre I love. In terms of film, I love it for two distinct reasons separating any experience I get from a horror movie – If it’s not a good movie, I get honestly a great sense of cynicism tearing it apart from how it does not work, looking inside and figuring out how it represents the horror culture in the end to what always looks like its final grave. But then, when you find a real diamond in the rough, a real gem, something legitimately scary. Then you’re going to get somewhere with finding out how it makes your hair stand, your skin crawl, then you’re going to watch reactions after finding out and discover to your joy… the trick still works.
For the next 31 days, I will be giving a day by day review of select horror films in all of the spectrum, from slasher to “Gates of Hell”, from Poe to Barker, from Whale to West, from 1919 to 2014…
This is the 31 Nights of Halloween.
I have a habit of making playlists with the music I have, much as I make playlists or screening alignments of the movies I have. Making an arrangement of music to fit mood, since music is one of the ephemerally tricky things to exist… swaying our emotions and attitudes to whatever we get elicited from the tune…
It’s October. It’s almost Halloween. It’s bout that time to get spooks. And when you’re in the dark, thinking and listening, you got that nice little melody to get you nice and limbered for some spooks.
Hence I begin to do this arrangement of songs that I will provide as my own playlist for the Halloween season.
… well, I was going to make it a meme, but decided against it on the consideration that I doubt other bloggers would follow suit. However, if anybody wishes to do so, all one needs is to do is to tag this original post, follow the rules I lay out and then tag at least one other blogger…
Ok, so the rules…
1 – Maximum ten songs. Minimum five.
2 – It cannot be about a horror theme. Aye, there’s the rub. I want something that really brings up a thought of what makes the night go bump without being coaxed and manipulated outright. It makes it more interesting. In addition, the lyrics can’t be too gothic to the point of knowing “oh, this is meant to be a zombie.” I use “Cemetery Gates” by Pantera as the threshold of what is too gothic… the song talks about the loss of a loved one, but it invokes the Edgar Allen Poe like obsession with suicide to reunite with her ghost. A similar song may be “Hail Mary” by Makaveli (y’know, 2Pac), talking about taking vengeance from the grave. Not very subtle.
3 – It cannot be included in the soundtrack of any work of horror, no matter what the main object of the song is. Movies, video games, books, television, none of these works are to have added these songs in their own compilation if they are horror. You get that immediate association and that’s just no fun (It’s fine if you didn’t know for a particular song and, since I don’t have any way of particularly knowing if one is telling the truth, I can’t police this – or any of the rules. But let’s just say I won’t buy somebody not knowing “Tubular Bells” was in The Exorcist.)
4 – No repeating artists.
Ok, anyway, before I begin, I may as well try tagging the people I think of:
Instead of listing all the film bloggers I read, I am merely most intrigued by these four to the point of wondering about their music selections. Optional for them and anyone else (you don’t need me to tag you to do this). Anyway, let’s begin with my 10-song pretend-soundtrack to a horror movie.
1. “I Know It’s Over” by The Smiths. It was honestly so much of struggle between this and “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” but “I Know It’s Over” ended up having more of a lonely Saturday night driving feel that laid some melancholy for a midnight cruise down the wrong part of the woods.
2. “Asylum of Glass” by Buckethead. Really if I ever make a horror feature film, Buckethead is either scoring the movie or I’ll be scoring the movie trying my hardest to sound like Buckethead. Most of his tunes give off a feeling that something’s off his rocker (assuming you’ve never seen a picture of the guy), but “Asylum of Glass” has more of that surrounding ominous feel than any of his more emotional works, an urgent demand for you to survive the night.
3. “Floods” by Pantera. Because of it being a dark and stormy night, how assaultive the bridge of the song becomes, and most of all, the ghostly distance of that guitar outro.
4. “Vancouver” by Jeff Buckley. Jeff’s unfortunate and untimely death have given pretty much all of his songs a ghost-like presence in my mind, but “Grace” seems a bit more affrontive in its talk of dying and “Hallelujah” is a bit too similar to being in a church (plus I’d slap myself in the face for including a Leonard Cohen cover and not a Leonard Cohen song in this playlist). “Vancouver” is uninterested in any of those things, merely reliving a lovely memory that faded as quickly as it existed and a structure of the song that borders on stream of consciousness. Dat climax. It also was released after he died. That helps.
5. Mike Oldfield – “Moonlight Shadow”. I honestly am quite shocked by how many songs about John Lennon’s death exist. I am also a lot more stunned that this song is about John Lennon’s death and not about a little legend of a travelling man who was misfortunate in his encounters in the middle of nowhere with no way to be helped. I pictured that sort of thing the moment I heard this song and it can never be shaken from my head. It’s like a little legend that passes itself on how alone one can truly be on the road. And it especially evokes a folksy feel similar to the music playing in The Wicker Man.
6. HIM – “Wicked Game”. I do not have with Chris Isaak covers those same qualms I have with Leonard Cohen covers. And honestly, it’s pretty much fine by me how Ville Valo’s voice drops with a darker richness than Isaak (I do like Isaak, though). I mean, isn’t it the most non-gothic gothic song ever to exist? (Linking the Rock am Ring performance of the song, just for that Type O Negative like moment in the middle and the Italian horror score-like use of the synthesizer).
7. Danny Brown – “Dip”. Brown has made himself known as the king of making very uncomfortable hip hop songs and this is honestly one of if not his most accessible song. But it’s so rapid and fast-paced and dizzying of a song that discusses the allure of ecstasy while making it sound (probably deliberately) so dirty and uncontrollable that it puts me off so many things at once and sort of resembles the infamous Elizabeth Pena sequence in Jacob’s Ladder in my mind.
8. “Bleed the Freak” by Alice in Chains. The lyrics really don’t hide how much the song holds accountable atrocities of religion and I don’t disagree with it, but this song sounds like the sort of thing you’d find in a cult… fuelled by this song some crazed maniac will slit your throat because he believes it’s the right thing to do and it is God’s will that he make you suffer. It makes me shiver like hell and it’s something I don’t want to think about when I’m going cave-diving or looking in places I shouldn’t be looking in.
9. “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol. Alright, it’s showtime. You’re locked in a room with only a handful of survivors left. You’re only exit is in the bloodied corridors behind your one door with the ghouls and monsters and fiends in your way. You need to fight your way out. What the fuck do you want playing as you struggle? That’s right. Billy Fucking Idol, baby. Get your blood pumping, your adrenaline running, and send ya ta Hell fast looking good!
10. “Hidden Place”by Bjork. Sure, it’s adorable like anything by Bjork, but it’s also kind of delusional. Like in any sort of danger, you can just lull yourself away and pretend your oppressors, the terrors aren’t there. There’s a true pessimism in making up your solution in your mind, while in the real world, you are about to be devastated. Like the twist ending of a movie having the character escape her horrors, only to discover after the fact that its a mental recession before she truly suffers (yeah, I know it’s the ending to a certain recent British horror movie… I’m not gonna name it though for the people who ain’t seen it.).
NOTE: I had so much trouble picking a song by Sponge, but the closest I almost came to was “Welcome Home”, which sounds semi-nightmarish in a 90s sort of way. I will leave it here.
Whelp, time to return to rambling on my next topic for 31NoH.